Waitrose has launched a new Japanese-style own label range.
The 26-strong Japan Menyu will roll into stores and online from 20 September.
It will span ready meals, sides, snacks and “centrepiece” products that can be paired with different meal bases like rice or steamed buns. Half of the products included in new range will be vegetarian, while 10 will be vegan.
The lineup includes Waitrose Japan Menyu Slow Cooked Chilli Jackfruit priced at £6.00 for 314g, a Sweet Potato Katsu Curry ready meal which will cost £5 for a 390g serving, and a side of Japan Menyu Edamame Beans with Garlic & Chilli Salt at £3.50 for 200g.
Pork Tonkatsu, a Chicken Katsu Curry and Slow Cooked Chilli Miso Beef are among the meat-based products on offer.
The launch confirms plans exclusively revealed by The Grocer in June, based on trademark applications submitted by the supermarket.
The supermarket said it had seen a significant growth in searches across its website and dedicated Japanese recipes page relating to Japanese cuisine.
Waitrose said the new range would complement its current lineup of Japanese products, which includes brands like Wagamama, Kikkoman and Taiko sushi. It also has 124 Sushi Daily kiosks.
“Our team has had a brilliant time building our Japan Menyu range,” said Waitrose senior development chef Zoe Simons.
“We’ve taken familiar flavours that we know our customers will love and created them into a range of brilliant products, including 13 vegetarian dishes, 10 of which are suitable for vegans.
“From the trends that our team has seen and the data that’s been gathered, we know that our customers are looking to expand their dining options even further and already enjoy delicious Japanese food.”
Development chefs from the supermarket had developed the range in collaboration with the Japanese chef and food writer Yuki Gomi.
Waitrose will also now offer reusable bamboo chopsticks, and has partnered with John Lewis to create a selection of Japanese style serving dishes. Three new No.1 Bonsai plants will launch in its horticulture range.
“I’m particularly excited about our new Japan Menyu range, having enjoyed so much of it growing up as my mum is Japanese,” said Waitrose commercial director Charlotte Di Cello.
“So much care and consideration has gone into each dish to ensure we’re offering the very best Japanese-inspired selection. We’ve seen significant growth in customer demand for Japanese foods, so to be launching this delicious and high quality curated range that can be enjoyed by anyone in the comfort of their own home is hugely exciting for all of us at Waitrose.”